Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy is a layman’s guide to the basics of economics, free from technical jargon, written by Thomas Sowell. Thomas Sowell, currently the scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, uses real-life examples from around the world in order to illustrate his points, declaring that learning economics should be both uncomplicated and eye-opening.
Currently in its fifth edition, Basic Economics has the benefit for the lay reader of being devoid of charts and graphs. Sowell wants the book to inform readers, especially in the ways in which basic economic principles affect daily lives and society. Sowell claims in the book that the basics underlying principles of economic thought are not hard to understand, and are largely similar in both ancient and modern societies, around the world. At its most basic level, economics, according to Sowell, is the study of the use of scarce resources that have some alternative use.
Basic Economics explores the results of decisions that human beings, individually and in groups, make regarding the use of land, labor, and capital, in that these decisions are often more consequential to society than the resources being used. As Sowell points out in Basic Economics, the science of economics is not business administration or predicting the rise or fall of the stock market. Instead, it is systematic study of cause and effect, where consequences of decisions are more important than any goal.